Grand Collecting: Richard Wilson and Masterworks from the Ford Collection
11 January – 31 May 2014
Representing over a quarter of a century of collecting, a display of works rare for the consistency in their quality and themes.
The Ford Collection originated in the 18th century thanks to Benjamin Booth, who amassed the largest set of works by Royal Academician Richard Wilson, held at the time.
Booth's grandson Richard Ford, an author, traveller and connoisseur, continued collecting into the 19th century and in later years Richard's great grandson Sir Brinsley Ford strengthened the existing areas of work as well as introducing his own interests.
At the centre of the collection are works by Richard Wilson, one of the leading figures in British landscape painting, whose influence was felt across Europe.
Along with artists including Thomas Gainsborough he created the country's 'landscape tradition', with John Hoppner proclaiming: 'We recollect no painter, who, with so much originality of manner, united such truth and grandeur of expression'.
The works in this exhibition, predominantly collected by Booth, show the breadth of his expression from early drawings in Rome to paintings in the 1770s. Other featured artists include renowned English painter, John Frederick Lewis.
2014 marks 300 years since the birth of Richard Wilson and the beginning of the Georgian age. In celebration, Gainsborough’s House is displaying the 1714 Sudbury Map, hand drawn map on vellum using iron gall ink and various shades of watercolour. It was created by Cornelius Brewer, whose signature can be seen with the inscription and it contains the earliest image of Gainsborough’s House.